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Jews in America: From New Amsterdam to the Yiddish Stage
Stephen D. Corrsin, Amanda Seigel, and Kenneth Benson, The New York Public Library; introduction by Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis University
This richly illustrated book tells the fascinating story of the Jewish presence in America, from the earliest expeditions to the New World and the arrival in 1654 of the first group of Jews in the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam (New York). Jonathan D. Sarna’s introduction traces pivotal changes in American Jewish life beginning in the colonial era. The volume draws from The New York Public Library’s remarkable holdings of American Judaica and other key collections, featuring rare books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, maps, documents, and posters. The stories are brought to life with over 100 items, including the gorgeous Polyglot Psalter published in Genoa in 1516, a color postcard of the Hebrew Confederate Soldiers Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia, and Columbus’s famous letter to Santangel (Barcelona, 1493) in its only known surviving complete copy. From Spain during the Inquisition to Brazilian sugar Plantations, from Amsterdam’s Portuguese synagogue to the fabled Yiddish theaters of New York’s Lower East side, Jews in America ranges widely, both historically and geographically, offering a feast abounding in incident and character. Documents also throw light on the once popular notion that the native population of the Americas represented the Ten Lost Tribes of ancient Israel, a seemingly bizarre theory that exercised many of the best minds of the seventeenth century. The book includes a preface by Anthony W. Marx, President, The New York Public Library; further reading; an index; and a chapter tracing the history of The New York Public Library’s Jewish Division, one of the foremost public collections of Judaica and Hebraica in the world.
160 pages, with more than 100 illustrations, primarily in color. Published by The New York Public Library in association with D Giles Limited, London., 2012.
Hardcover. $39.00. ISBN 978-1-904832-22-5.
Available online from The Library Shop